Arts & Entertainment

Parkland Photographer Hopes to Help Bring Unity and Change After Marjory Stoneman Douglas Tragedy

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PARKLAND, FL - For Parkland photographer and mom, Paulina Splechta, photography is not only her livelihood, it's also her passion.  After the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, she is using her photography skills to help to bring unity and change.  Most recently, she captured the flowers, signs, and well-wishes adorning the front fence at the high school.

Splechta said, "I think it is urgent and important for all families and people of our country to see what our community is going through. These are real moms and dads suffering because they lost their babies...Every morning for the rest of their lives, these parents are going to have to admit to themselves there is an empty bedroom in their house. There's a graduation they'll never get to attend. A wedding that will never happen. They won't become grandparents. They lost the most important person in their life - their beloved child - whose face they'll never get to see or kiss ever again."

She said she hopes her photographs help lead to change.  "I refuse to stomach the idea that Douglas High will become another statistic, and the shootings continue. I want to keep this fresh in the minds of all people of our country so that this can be fixed today, not weeks, months or years from now...There cannot be another school shooting. If all communities and all families and all people of our nation see these intimate and painful pictures, maybe it can help for us to unite and work together to make sure this never happens again. I want to reach their hearts," Splechta said.

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She added, "My hope is that parents and adults of our nation see how hard the youth of our community here are working with writing signs and protesting, doing walk-outs, driving up to Tallahassee, and that it is a wake up call. Why are our children fighting so hard to protect all the children of our country from death in future school shootings? Why aren't we, the adults and parents of our nation, working 50 times harder than our youth to fix it?"

"I feel very humbled that I am able to be a good photographer.  It is one of the things I am good at in this world.  I'd like to thank the community of Parkland and south Florida for trusting me and allowing me to take these photographs to help reach the hearts of all the people in our country," Splechta said.

Editor's Note:  All photos are courtesy of Paulina Splechta.

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